Asifa, I have no words to speak of or for you
I had planned to give up poetry
At the end of this month
This National Poetry Writing Month
Poetry is of no use
Words have no beauty
What I need is action to enthuse
My deeds have to fill the stage of this world
So that never again is there an Asifa.

Asifa, I grew up in a world that like yours
Did not care for violence
I have two daughters
They too loved to run in the meadows
Safe from marauders
I let them stray like lambs only among human beings
Who espoused values not known to your killers
Taught them to care for Jesus, and Buddha
Lincoln, Gandhi, Ambedkar, Martin Luther King Jr., Mandela
Sent them to schools and anxiously waited
For their return, as the world knew no ideals

Asifa, I am not writing to be published
Or get money or to be praised
I write because what happened to you
Stole my sleep in the night and calls me
Calls me to do the first thing to resist
Calls me to write this poem and not desist

Asifa, the tears that scald my eyes
These hot beads that stream down my face and cheeks
Are vain in your case, I know
But I shed them as a curse
To bring into existence God
If he does not exist, the God of old
Who was slow to anger but quick to avenge
Evil and sin and destroy the wicked
The God of the Old Testament whom people feared
When the fear of God was the beginning of safety

And if no God answers to my prayer
As none did when you were crying out
To curse your killers
Then I take it on myself
To do everything in my power
To change the world so no more do such things happen
No government too big enough for me to not pull down
No army I cannot find weapons against
No religion I cannot annihilate
No battle or war too little for your sake
For these tears of mine are not just tears of sadness
They are tears of just anger and of hate
No one should live in a land where you cannot run free
If they are a danger to your laughter and glee
No one should escape the net of the vigilante
And I am that vigilante and there are many of me/us
Asifa, nothing is beyond me when hurt
When enraged, when made mad, as it is not for any
Who can even dimly sense what you went through in those hours
It is true ‘the blood-dimmed tide rises
The centre cannot hold
Mere anarchy is let loose on the world
The falcon cannot hear the falconer’
It is true
And ‘the nightmare moves it slow thighs and slouches towards Bethlehem
Surrounded by wheeling carrion birds in the gyre of history
Where kaliyug has come
Where the time of the antichrist draws nigh’
It is clear, but I do not fear
As in me dwell all the heroes of the past

They asked me why I did not sleep
Why I was awake at an unearthly time, tonight
How can I tell them I was up to dream
Dream of being a father waiting at a door
Seeing a little girl come home and sigh
With relief
That another day had gone by
And nothing had happened to her yet again
In this cruel world
How could I tell them I was awake to weep
Unending tears to become a curse to smite
Once for all to death all such evil in the lands
How could I speak when there was no one to accept?
When people will only fear the gun’s might?

Yet I speak and I believe in my solitariness
That there is a power in my words and my tears
That will tear down even the greatest strongholds
I believe that the fight will still go our way
No more will we lose but hold evil first at bay
Then drive it back to where it should stay
In heavenly armour I enter the land
No battle I cannot fight to withstand
No enemy I shall not overcome and slay
For you I cast aside every fear
Asifa, if it is left to me there will never be this again
What happened to you and others – not if I have my way.

Dr A.V. Koshy is an established author and writer who is a poet, critic and artist. He has a doctorate in Samuel Beckett’s Poems in English from the University of Kerala, now published. He has co-authored and published a monograph of essays called Wrighteings: In Media Res and has several, published research papers to his credit. His greatest desire is to build a village for people having autism where all their needs are met. He runs an NGO called “Autism for Help Village Project” with his wife for this dream to come true. He has fourteen other books out now as fiction writer, literary critic, poet, academician, literary theoretician, essayist, editor, anthologist, co -editor, co-author and co-contributor. His latest and perhaps best book is a collection of short stories Scream and Other Urbane Legends.


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